Nielsen reports that 83% of people trust recommendations they receive from family and friends. When one of your yoga students tells a friend to come do yoga, that friend is paying attention.
So how can you encourage your students to spread the word about you? Sometimes they’ll do it naturally, of course, if they are happy with their experience there, but a little incentive can go a long way when it comes to word of mouth advertising.
A solid referral program can be your best form of advertising, especially when you consider that 88% of Americans (and a whooping 95% of 18-to-34-year-olds) appreciate a reward for sharing about a product or service. If you can reward your students appropriately, they will grow your studio for you.
So how to do it? Start here:
People might like your studio, but they love you. In today’s world of automated everything, people enjoy getting to know the face behind the goods and services they use. Remember the names of your students and a little bit about their lives. Be present for them. If they like you and feel that you care about them and their yoga experience, they’ll likely refer people even without an incentive.
Choose a Valuable Incentive
While 18% of Americans said they prefer some type of swag as an incentive, 77% voted for money. You might not want to hand out cash, but you can certainly give them a gift-card style equivalent in the form of free classes or a discounted month.
Include an Incentive for the New Student
Equip your current students with something to offer the potential referral. It’s one thing if they say, “Join this yoga studio!” and another to say, “If you tell them I sent you, you get a free class or a discounted membership.” Some students might feel more comfortable earning a reward when their friends get something out of it, too.
Make It a Game
People are motivated by goals, so give your students referral levels to reach. Even one referral should be rewarded, but you could offer additional rewards for reaching referral milestones.
For example, each referral might earn them a free week at the studio. However, when they get to five referrals, they also get a studio tank top. When they get 10 referrals, they get a yoga mat. You could also adjust the reward based on the type of membership the referral buys.
Ask for the Referrals
You don’t want to start a program and hope your students figure it out on their own. When you launch, have your teachers make an announcement at the end of class:
Hey, we just started a referral program so we can bring in some more students and add more classes to the studio schedule. You can earn free classes for referring friends! On your way out today, ask at the desk for all the details.
You can provide images for your students to post on social media to make sure they’re relaying the correct information (about times, prices, new student incentives, etc.). You can also post about your referral program on your own Facebook page to reach your followers who might not have been to the studio lately.
If you have a newsletter, include a reminder about your referral program every couple of months. Post about it occasionally on social media, as well.
Keep Track of Your Efforts
When new people come in, ask them who referred them and whether they heard about it online or in person. You’ll get a better idea of who your referral stars are and which referral method (or reward) is most effective. And if no one referred them, they might ask about your program and refer someone themselves! You can also note how often a referral becomes a student (and for how long) to make sure your program is working.
Provide an Outstanding Yoga Experience
All the referrals in the world mean nothing if you’re not delivering at the studio. Continue to offer a wide variety of classes taught by the best teachers you can find, and it will be easy to keep those referrals coming in.
Looking for additional marketing tips? Get your copy of our 10-Step Yoga Marketing Guide.